If variety is the spice of life, let’s just say that we like it really, really spicy. Last year was a great one for new restaurants, and we can only hope the months ahead will be similarly fruitful. In the meantime, a look back at some of the best establishments to open here in the last 12 months.
111-113 Killiney Rd., 6732-5113.
There’s no doubt that Chef Angelo Sanelli (formerly of Michelangelo’s) knows how to serve impressive Italian classics. The house-proud pastas and tiramisu are heavenly. And his namesake eatery, with its dim lighting and dark corners, is the perfect place for a first date. Even if you don’t manage to score, you’ll leave with your belly completely satisfied.
66A Serangoon Garden Way, 6287-0430.
We know it’s hardly downtown, but that’s part of its charm. This cozy nook is all the way out in Serangoon (a mere one-minute walk from Chomp Chomp); just trek up to the second floor for some fresh handmade pasta. Chef and proprietor Marc Wee makes a batch from scratch everyday, so be sure to have a plate of pappardelle with shrooms, parma ham, onions, garlic and shallots in a decadent cream sauce. Also noteworthy is the meltingly tender Asian-spiced lamb shank.
What The Dining Scene Needs in 2011
The Disgruntled Chef
26B Dempsey Rd., 6476-5305.
There was some hullabaloo about the name when The Disgruntled Chef first opened. Tongues wagged and chef-owner Daniel Sia firmly insisted that in this case, a name is just a name. Well, enough about that. The overriding grey color palette and clean lines make for a minimalist space, while the dining concept promotes the merits of sharing. Modern European dishes are executed with ease and grace, such as the baked bone marrow with homemade persillade, crayfish mac’n’cheese and fig crisps with Roquefort cream. And the drinks here are pretty darn good, too.
#01-55 UE Square, 207 River Valley Rd., 6887-5315.
The whole ramen craze might be so over, but this joint is one of the best. The noodles here are delish, but we especially appreciate that they also do kushiyaki (Japanese grilled dishes) for added variety. Plus, they’re open till a little later than most (last order on weekdays is at 11pm, while it’s at 1am on weekends).
Kinki Restaurant + Bar
#02-02 Customs House, 70 Collyer Quay, 6533-3471.
The brightly-colored floor mural (designed by Chris Garver of Miami Ink fame), exposed pipes and light fixtures fashioned from fishing hooks clearly indicate their departure from the usual Japanese restaurant décor. That same attitude is displayed in the food, with pan-seared foie gras and raw Hokkaido scallop sushi, century egg, organic tofu and snow crab in ponzu sauce and grilled black cod in a pomegranate-honey miso sauce. They’ve (finally) opened up their alfresco area, for yet another rooftop experience along the waterfront.
#02-139 Crockfords Tower Lobby Level, 26 Sentosa Gateway, 6686-3633.
We’re a little jaded when it comes to this whole celeb chef business. After all, it’s no secret that quite a few of them open up and, like Cake sang, are almost “never there.” Michelin-starred chef Kunio Tokuoka swings by every so often to check in on things, which is a comforting thought. The kaiseki menu is divine and the service well above average, but be prepared to drop a handful of big ones.
36 Duxton Hill, 6238-5700.
A Parisian-style steak and frites bistro that only offers one main course (who would have thought we’d go for that?). Sure, it’s a bit of a tight squeeze inside the place, but we reckon the foie gras terrine, duck rillettes and waffles with salted caramel make it all worthwhile. As a bonus, our wallets don’t suffer from post-traumatic stress.
Peach Garden Sichuan @ Miramar
3/F Hotel Miramar, 401 Havelock Rd., 6736-3833.
We’re always hankering after a dose of seriously spicy Sichuan fare. And this is where we found it. Their range of dishes includes relatively mild options such as sautéed pork neck with onions and minced garlic or braised prawns, fried French beans with minced meat and Sichuan peppers and crystal vermicelli in a claypot, as well as the fiery Chong Qing diced chicken and chilled chicken in spicy paste. And just in case you forget where you are, they’ve decided not to take any chances with peach tree art work on almost every wall and pillar.
7 Purvis St., 6333-9901.
On our first visit to the reincarnation of Metropole Herbal Restaurant in a three story shophouse, we were greeted with bright lights, white leather chairs, and pale yellow walls and tablecloths. They’ve since softened it up a smidge, with a smattering of brightly-colored paintings adorning the walls. Fortunately, their modern Chinese food isn’t only scrumptious; it distinguishes itself with its efforts to ease up on the usage of oil—sure to please the more health-conscious. The stellar service is a real bonus.
What 2011 Needs
- Better service standards please (it is possible?). And no, before you ask, it doesn’t stop at just filling up our wine glass when we politely ask you to.
- Daring dining concepts. We thoroughly enjoyed guerilla dining, so something else to keep us entertained while we fulfill our gastronomic needs would be much appreciated.
- Just for the heck of it, how about some controversy? Aside from infamous food blogger ladyironchef and the “to pay, or not to pay” Private Affairs fiasco (how dare he call himself a lady!), and a $1,200 fish at RWS, the scene is lacking real talking points. We reckon it wouldn’t hurt to shake things up every so often. [TOP]